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Blume in Love (1973) Review

Blume in Love is a detailed study of decaying marriage involving new found passion and self-awareness. It’s a love story for grown-ups or textbook what NOT to do. Stephen Blume (George Seagal) is caught cheating on his wife Nina (Susan Anspach) after 6 years of marriage. Despite being in love with her, he can’t resist sleeping with his secretary.  Why? Because it’s there. Shortly after a quick divorce, Blume develops a consuming obsession with his ex-wife. He’s following her to work and spying on her new relationship with Elmo, out of work musician played by Kris Kristofferson. He’s even faking a friendship with Elmo just to be closer to Nina. Will he manage to get her back? Especially when Nina is enjoying her new found freedom?

It’s a reminiscence of a love relationship between Stephen Blume and his wife, Nina spiced up with the portrait of swingers’ scene in the 70s. Los Angeles. The story is told from Blume’s retrospective, fragmented memories. He’s narrating from Venice, Italy examining the marriage he buried in back in Venice, California. It’s another film where Mazursky (also a writer) seem to acknowledge the spirit and many relishes of the freedom era while smuggling firm yet subtle mockery of the sexual revolution themes. The movie is a very thorough and honest yet poetic confession of lost love. Mazursky proves his brilliant observational and writing skills. The dialogues are the gems here. And he’s an actors’ director, people are always at the center of his stories. George Seagal is wonderful as Stephen and Shelley Winters proves that she only needs 2 minutes on the screen to be perfectly remembered. She plays a role of Stephen’s client, Mrs. Cramer who is divorcing her cheating husband. I can’t shake the feeling that Blume in Love (1973) was used as an inspiration (to say the least) for Woody Allen’s Annie Hall which came out in 1977. Costumes were designed by Joel Schumacher.

To this day Blume in Love is some sort of movie-enigma. What Roger Ebert wrote in his review (rogerebert.com) of the film sums it up: “Blume in Love has a quality that’s hard to analyze but impossible to miss: It sets up an intimate rapport with its audiences.” Some people say this include Mazursky (DP/30), that Blume in Love is definitely the best movie he’s ever made. It’s hard to point out just one with such titles among his filmography: An Unmarried WomanBob & Carol & Ted & AliceMoscow on the Hudson, Alex in Wonderland or Harry & Tonto.

©  2018 Anna Jozwiak

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